Green tribunal issues notice to five Delhi hospitals

Private, government hospitals found not adhering to standards of bio-medical waste disposal

By Soma Basu
Published: Monday 29 April 2013

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued show cause notices to five hospitals in Delhi for not following biomedical waste disposal rules.
Max Super Specialty Hospital in Indraprastha Extension, M/s Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre Ltd in Okhla, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini, Dr Hedgawar Arogya Sansthan in Karkardooma and Lok Nayak Hospital in Jawaharlal Nehru Marg were served the notices and directed to pay compensation on the principle of “polluter pays”.

On April 18, NGT directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct surprise inspection of the hospitals in Delhi to check whether they are adhering to the prescribed standards of collection and disposal of biomedical waste. The inspection team submitted its report to NGT on April 23. It found that none of the five hospitals adhered to the parameters prescribed under the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules of 1998, while government hospitals are in serious default.

The team reported the sewage treatment plant at Lok Nayak Hospital having a capacity of 1,250 kilo litres a day is non-functional for the past three months. Similarly, other government hospitals are also not adhering to the requirements of law.

NGT directed the team to inspect other hospitals, including private clinics and nursing homes. It stressed on inspecting whether there was mercury waste disposed by any hospital or nursing home, and if so, the manner in which it was disposed of. Among the other hospitals, the team was directed to inspect Safadarjung Hospital and All India Institute of Medical of Sciences (AIIMS).

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee as well as CPCB shall constitute more than one team of environmentalists or scientists so as to enable preparation of a comprehensive report to be placed before NGT on the next date of hearing, directed the bench. The next date of hearing is May 22. Haryana Pollution Control Board and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board were also directed to conduct such inspections in their states.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in the report tabled in the Delhi Assembly on April 2, had exposed gaping holes in biomedical waste treatment in Delhi. CAG had said that that no preliminary feasibility study on technology and quantum of waste was conducted before installation of a biomedical waste treatment plant at Nilothi or Okhla. CAG said Delhi generates about 70 tonnes of biomedical waste from various hospitals, clinics and clinical labs every day. No system has been put in place to monitor the quality of drugs being supplied to hospitals and dispensaries, it added.

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